Regarding Luxury is a news site that covers what’s new in luxury cars, fashion and watches, with perspectives on real estate investment, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine is putting all that in proper perspective. How the free world deals with Russian oligarchs and freezes assets like multi-million dollar real estate and behemothic $600 million yachts in Germany is something we’re going to follow regularly here.
There was a news story on Fox News yesterday on how U.S. government authorities are clamping down on Russian oligarchs who have long used New York real estate to park their wealth. The U.S. and their allies are building a list of Russian oligarchs whom they intend to sanction. That current list is here. If sanctions expand to others with close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin there could be seizures of $1 billion worth of real estate in New York alone, according to the Fox story.
Russian oligarchs not on U.S. sanctions list with property in New York include Len Blavatnik ($34.2B in estimated net worth), Dmitry Rybolovlev ($6.78B), Alexei Kuzmichev ($5.8B), and Roman Abramovich ($13.8B). “Putin’s banker” as he is called owns three buildings just off Central Park alone, purchased for $90.5 million, according to the reporting. Abramovich has been in the news this week, putting the Chelsea Premier League soccer club he owns up for sale (he says proceeds of the sale, which likely will be in the billions, will go to victims of the war in Ukraine).
The Ocean Victory superyacht, reportedly owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov. Image by S. Phuketian, Shutterstock
Going after Russia’s wealthy class
If Russian oligarchs are sanctioned, and if billions of dollars in properties like penthouses, yachts, private jets and sports cars are seized, plus travel restrictions, this is going to go way beyond symbolic.
Many of us have read about and studied Russian history and we’re aware of the ability Russians have to withstand isolation and hardships. That’s especially true after Hitler invaded in 1940, when Russian territory was part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union suffered over 24 million civilian and military deaths in WWII. Putin’s generation and the older ones still harken back to those times. Why do you think he called the Ukraine attack necessary, all to “de-Nazi-fy” Ukraine?
Well, ask me how the Russian wealth class thinks of Putin’s move, especially their Millennial-age kids, after 30 years dining off the best in luxury living that Western nations like Canada offer. If this all goes the way it appears to be going, anyone with a Russian passport is going to get economically bombed back to the 1930s, especially if the U.S. ever gets its energy policy sorted out. The question then is what will the U.S. and European Union do with all those Russian assets.
Russian oligarchs and their superyachts
Superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs have been especially popular among that class, one way they flaunt their power and wealth. The image above is of Sailing Yacht ‘A’, taken in October off Limassol, Cyprus (Credit: Kirill Makarov, Shutterstock). It’s a jaw-dropping 469 feet long, the world’s largest sailing yacht. It was priced over $500 million when it launched in 2017, with exterior and interior design by French industrial architect and designer Philippe Starck. It is owned by Andrey Melnichenko, the Russian billionaire industrialist and philanthropist.
Melnichenko is also the owner of the Motor Yacht ‘A’, 390 feet, valued at $204M, one of the largest motor yachts in the world. That one is also designed by Starck. The superyacht can accommodate 14 guests and a crew of 42.
Ocean Victory, 460 feet long, owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov, has seven decks and six pools.
Superyacht ‘A’, owned by Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, photographed off Bequia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, in 2017. Image by Umomos, Shutterstock
Forbes has a great list of all superyachts currently owned by Russian billionaires (and where they are currently located) – sanctioned or not – here. Melnichenko, Rashnikov, and Abramovich are not on any sanction list that we see. However who knows where U.S. and European Union sanctioning of Russian oligarchs is going to go in the coming weeks, and we’ll follow along here.
The superyacht Eclipse, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, docked at Pier 90 in New York in 2013. 533 feet, valued at $438M, according to Forbes. Image by Lev Radin, Shutterstock.